Review: Elsebeth Egholm – Three Dog Night

I attended a Danish crime fiction event on Monday evening as part of the Manchester Literature Festival along with Karen EEgholmMeek from Eurocrime. Karen has given the evening an excellent write-up on her website and it was good to see that, judging by the turnout, the Scandinavian crime fiction wave is still going strong. In advance of the event, I read one of the featured authors’ books. Three Dog Night by Elsebeth Egholm is a solid read with an interesting premise. It was also the book that author spoke about at length and once more I was struck by how interesting it is to hear of how a novel came into being.

Ex-convict Peter Bautrup moves to a remote rural community following his release from prison. His nearest neighbour is Felix, a woman bearing the scars of a past accident. When they both stumble on the body of Ramses, a man Peter knew in prison, their fragile peace is shattered. The discovery of a young girl’s body in the town’s harbour doesn’t appear, at first, to be connected to the convict’s death but the remote community is harbouring old secrets that are finally resurfacing.

Three Dog Night has a great sense of place that communicates itself to the reader from the first page. A frosty New Year’s Eve provides the backdrop to the introduction of the main protagonists and conveys to the reader the isolation of the community. Egholm has created an excellent cast of characters who have interesting back stories. Peter, in particular, struggles to disentangle himself from his former life. There is a strong emphasis on sickness, in terms of both physical and mental exhaustion. While this adds to the sense of a community fraying at the edges it can occasionally make it difficult to distinguish the individual characters. However, I was impressed by the well constructed plot with a convincing ending which I find is sometimes a weakness with Scandinavian crime fiction.

Egholm’s sequel to Three Dog Night, Dead Soulsis out in November. Featuring once more Peter Bautrup, the blurb suggests that it promises to be an equally intriguing read.

Thanks to Headline for my review copy. The translation was by Charlotte Barslund and Don Bartlett.

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7 thoughts on “Review: Elsebeth Egholm – Three Dog Night

  1. Sarah, thank you for this review. I noted earlier that you were in the midst of reading it and was eager to see your review. I’m eager to give it a go, and especially so because I can get a hold of it on the Nook for only $5.99. But I’m overwhelmed by how many books there are to read right now.
    Judith

  2. It sounds interesting, Sarah. I have not been keeping up with my Scandinavian crime novels. Or much translated fiction lately.

  3. Pingback: review roundup | Scandinavian Crime Fiction

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